Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review - The Son of Neptune

Original Title: The Son of Neptune
Series: The Heroes of Olympus, #2
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: October the 4th, 2011

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books

THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

I loved this book! I seriously did; it is another proof of Rick Riordan’s amazing talent as a storyteller, and an awesome way to introduce young people to ancient mythology and history, in a world in which they are both alive, and fending off monsters, hearing prophecies and fighting with swords and bows are everyday things. Here, we found the second installment in The Heroes of Olympus saga, and it was as good as the previous one.

One of the best parts in this book was, definitely, having Percy back. He’s one of my favorite characters, and although in this one I missed both Annabeth and Thalia, I have the hope they will reappear, especially after that ending! But Percy… If he could make me love him even more, he did it here. Even when nothing in his life was certain, and he didn’t remember a thing about himself, he knew that somewhere out there was a girl named Annabeth, looking for him, and even when he didn’t fully recall her, he knew she was his anchor to the world, someone he needed and would give anything to be reunited with her. They are destined to each other, and I can’t wait to read more about them, now that they are officially together. In short, as far as Percy and Annabeth are there, it will be a must-read!

I liked Camp Jupiter, it is the Roman counterpart to Camp Half-Blood, where not only demigods find a refuge, but also their families, and their descendants. It has ancient Rome’s organization and urban plant, and the campers, instead of being divided according to their godly parent, are put in cohorts -a military unit-, and in Percy’s case, he ends up in the Fifth Cohort, the most mocked and maligned one, along with two other demigods, Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang.

I liked Hazel, and I’m excited to read more about her, to see how her story plays out. She’s a brave, smart and strong heroine, daughter of Pluto (Hades), who goes for what she wants, and is always willing to sacrifice herself for those she loves; but she hides a secret. She’s not supposed to be alive, as she died decades ago, trying to stop Gaea and the giant Alcyoneus from rising, but she was brought back from the Underworld by Nico di Angelo, whom I loved to see back. I liked that, even when her curse costed so much (her mother’s disrepute and death, for instance), and she hated herself for it, she eventually learned how to use it on her behalf. Her story is sad, and tragic, but it shows how corruptive riches can be, and the way that, whatever comes from the Lord of Death, even in the shiny guise of gold, silver, platinum and gemstones, won’t bring anything less than death itself. The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that she kept mentioning her curse, and all the problems it brought her, but she didn’t give any details, so there was a point in which I was thinking “Please, explain something to me, for once!”. The whole suspense is good, but it can be tiresome, as it takes forever to finally learn, for example, why people who touch the gems and metals that she makes come to the surface end up paying such terrible prices. But still, I loved her, and I’m eager to see the part she will play in the Prophecy of Seven.

As for Frank, I really liked him, and I even felt a bit identified with him. I understand -perhaps all too well- what it is wanting to be accepted, doing your best to fit in, and still, feeling laughed at, bullied, left aside. I felt like I could be friends with this guy. His powers are amazing, he’s a natural warrior, even with all his doubts and insecurities, and comes from an old family with Roman roots, and powers of their own. It wasn’t fair that his life depended on a piece of wood, but he’s a true hero, because even when he was aware of that, was willing to give his life in order to save the Camp and the world. However, there’s something about him that I need to mention. It bothers me when the characters in a book don’t seem to be able to connect the dots. Frank waited for months to be claimed by Apollo as his son, given that his most remarkable talent was archery. But it was pretty obvious that his father wasn’t Apollo. I knew from the start that he was Mars’ son, for the simple and plain fact that his mother was a soldier. I mean, think of all the other demigods’ parents we know, and ask yourself what they did that could attract a god’s attention. Gods are attracted to that very same thing that makes them alive and powerful (otherwise they would fade), Mars is the god of war, and Emily Zhang was a soldier. It wasn’t very difficult to guess. But still, Frank is a great character, and I want to keep reading about him. I loved his relationship with Hazel, seeing how trust grew between them, and changed the way they saw themselves and each other.

I wish I could do justice to all the great details in this book. Just like in the Percy Jackson saga, The Son of Neptune is full of Riordan’s clever adaptations and gags, like the Amazons being the owners of Amazon (by the way, I had to go to The Sea of Monsters to remember who Hylla was), Percy understanding Arion’s language, Iris in the organic food business, Thanatos owning an Ipad… Things only Riordan can do so well, making me laugh out loud. I’ll definitely keep reading the rest of the saga, even when I still love Camp Half-Blood better than Camp Jupiter. I’m excited about getting to know more about these characters, including those we already know from the previous saga. If it means I can join Percy, Annabeth and Thalia, in their quests to save the world, I’ll read anything!

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